Burlington School Board, teachers' union avert strike

Posted 8:09 p.m. Wednesday
Updated 8:10 p.m. Wednesday

— Teachers in Vermont's largest school district will not be going on strike, according to the teachers' union.

The Burlington Education Association announced Wednesday night that the union and the city's school board had reached a tentative agreement for a one-year contract.

"I am pleased to tell Burlington students, parents and residents that school will begin on time tomorrow morning," said Fran Brock, a Burlington High School history teacher who serves as the president of the Burlington Education Association. "I know this has been a hard road, but we're pleased to have reached an agreement with the school board."

Details of the agreement will not be released until it is ratified by both parties.

"This is terrific news for Burlington's students," Brock said. "In the end, the board shares the same deep devotion to the city's children as we do, and our teams were able to reach an agreement that will allow us all to devote ourselves to making our schools even better for all of our students."

The two sides began meeting with a federal mediator Wednesday morning in an attempt to avert a strike. If the talks had failed, teachers could have gone on strike on Thursday. It would have been their first since a six-day strike in 1978.

School Board attorney Joe McNeil said the board was prepared to bargain in good faith for as long as it took to reach a settlement. "We're hoping both sides have enough patience today," he said earlier.

The yearlong contract negotiations have been bitter. The school district has 400 teachers and about 4,000 students.

Last month, the union rejected the working conditions imposed by the board and the school board chairman said the board had no plans to return to the bargaining table. The teachers union voted last week to go on strike.


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